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How Congress Failed to Stop the Fatal Amtrak Crash

Positive Train Control could have prevented Tuesday’s crash. Congress made it mandatory in 2008. But it also continues to cut funding needed to fully implement it.
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Investigators don’t know yet why an Amtrak passenger train was traveling twice the speed limit at Frankford Junction when it derailed in Philadelphia. But officials have the technology that would have prevented the fatal crash that killed eight people and injured scores more on Tuesday night.

A communications safety system known as Positive Train Control could have slowed the speeding Amtrak train before it entered into the curve at more than 100 miles per hour. This system—part monitoring system, part emergency brake, part remote control—isn’t obscure or hypothetical. The 110th Congress made PTC mandatory in 2008.